Elon Musk says Twitter Blue relaunch delayed, may use different color checks for organizations

Twitter owner Elon Musk said on Monday evening that the company is planning to delay the relaunch of its $8 per month Blue Verified service. Musk said Twitter will “probably use different color check for organizations than individuals.”

Twitter Blue was launched earlier this month but was pulled after users abused the new paid option, which Musk hoped would drive new revenue to the platform. It allowed users to pay for a Blue checkmark, previously reserved for verified users.

Musk had earlier said he planned to relaunch Twitter Blue on Nov. 29.

The paid Blue subscription service led to a plethora of pranksters creating imposter accounts on Twitter. It left the platform even more ripe for misinformation, and many cheaply acquired checkmarks were used to impersonate brands, politicians and celebrities with unflattering messages.

A user impersonating pharmaceutical giant Eli Lily, for example, tweeted “we are excited to announce insulin is free now.”

Eli Lilly’s stock price dropped sharply after the false message was posted, and so did other pharmaceutical companies including AbbVie, which was also impersonated on Twitter. At that time, major stock indices were positive, amid a market rally.

Twitter has trialed using two check marks, including a Blue one for paid and previously-verified users and a gray “Official” checkmark for some brands, such as news organizations. But there was a confusing overlap, where some accounts had both checkmarks. Musk killed the “Offical” checkmark the same day it rolled out.

The delay comes after Musk gutted much of Twitter’s staff. About half of the company’s 7,500 employees were laid off earlier this month. Then, last week, about another 1,200 full-time employees left, according to The New York Times, after Musk demanded employees commit to working “long hours at high intensity” on his vision for “Twitter 2.0″ or submit their resignations.

— CNBC’s Lora Kolodny contributed to this report.

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